International Game Developers Association
- An introduction to IGDA and the Singapore Chapter by Singapore IGDA Chapter coordinator, Allan Simonsen.
- Danien Chee, freshly returned from working on Mercenaries under the auspices of Pandemic Studios, will provide a sneak peak into life on the set.
- The latest incarnation of Immortals, a locally developed PC game-in-the-works, will be showcased by Robin Tan of Envisage Reality.
- A networking session will follow where members of the rapidly growing local game development community can meet new people and share war stories.
The first Singapore IGDA Chapter meeting in 2 years, kicked of promptly under the auspices of Nanyang Polytechnic. Much to the relief of the steering commitee, there was quite a sizable turnout, such that chairs had to be seconded from the outside lounge to accomodate everybody.
It started off with Allan Simonsen, Chapter Coordinator, introducing IGDA and the local chapter. He highlighted that the goal of the Singapore Chapter is to act as an information source for new developers entering the market, promote networking between individual developers and hopefully help to advise and provide feedback to the various government agencies on policies that affect the game industry. We can look forward to quarterly meetings like this one, as well as less formal beer evenings, which apparantly are quite popular in the US and Japan.
This was followed by a brief round-the-table self-introduction session. We had quite a mix of people attending, hailing from various local game development and animation studios, hobbyist programmers, lecturers from academic institutions, government officers, publishers, and even recent graduates, some of which were still serving NS. One interesting thing to note is that the crowd was 100% male. Perhaps our next meeting will garner the interest of the fairer gender?
Terence Tan, of Fung Wan Online renown, crossed the causeway to deliver his piece about the Malaysian IGDA. Back in Malaysia, they have also recently held their chapter meeting. Terence hopes that the regional IGDA chapters will be able to work together in providing better services for our respective communities. To start things off, a regional grassroot development event is slated to be organised in the coming months. The working group has already been set up, and any volunteers are welcome to pitch in. You can email him at terence_tan at posdreams.com to see how you can help
Brendan Harkin, executive director of X-Media lab also delivered their spiel on a novel concept. The main gist of it is that they are open to submissions for about 10 projects accross various disciplines in the media industry. They have a group of international speakers and mentors who will provide their advice and guidance on these projects. These mentors, who are of no small fame, will provide assistance on the business, creative and technical aspects of the chosen project. More can be found out at www.xmedialab.com.
Danien Chee then took to the stage with his trusty X-Box to give us a glimpse into the production of Mercenaries by Pandemic Studios. While playing through some of the game missions, and showing off the excellent Havok physics engine and in-house rendering engine, he shared many ancedotes of development behind the scenes. Everything from the live firing session organised by Lucas Arts (their publisher) to capture gunshot sounds, to the use of a 20 year old level editor came to the surface. Judging from the interested questions about the technicalities of Lua scripting and the use of focus groups, he certainly made an impression.
This lengthy presentation was then followed by Robin Tan's demo of Immortals. Not only did he show the actual demo complete with lush animated vegetation, he also displayed snapshots of work as it was in progress. This included the orginal video submitted to MDA for funding. Many in the room could emphathise with the difficulties faced by a startup developer, and I'm sure that quite a few who are entering the market have benefitted from his shared experiences.
The meeting was finally drawn to a close, and groups rapidly congregated for the networking session. Namecards were exchanged, conversation was made. The hungrier participants who skipped dinner to make it to the meeting moved on to a nearby coffeeshop for some gastronomical release and friendly chit chat.
Thanks to Nanyang Polytechnic for hosting this first event!